A Dirty Shame
Runtime: 1 hr 29 min
MPAA Rating: NC-17
Director: John Waters
Starring: Tracey Ullman, Johnny Knoxville, Selma Blair, Chris Isaak
I haven't laughed so hard or enjoyed myself so much at a comedy like this.
Review by: SteveRhodes
Added: 8 years ago
With breasts literally the size of watermelons, Selma Blair plays Caprice Stickles, a.k.a. Ursula Udders. With Caprice having been convicted three times for indecent exposure, her Norman Rockwell-like parents, Sylvia (Tracey Ullman) and Vaughn (Chris Isaak), keep her in a padlocked room. There are no padlocks or limits on the freewheeling and side-splittingly funny A DIRTY SHAME, the latest irreverent comedy by John Waters, the director of SERIAL MOM and CECIL B. DEMENTED, among other wonderfully off-beat movies. Waters is in his finest form this time with humor so outrageously funny that audiences may injure themselves while laughing. The film is being released NC-17, mainly just for language. There are more terms for sex than I bet you've ever heard of, including, "funch," "sneezing in the cabbage," "pearl diving" and "whistling in the dark." Figuring out the terms without benefit of a glossary just adds to the fun.
The story, which plays like a sexual twist on THE INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, has the inhabitants of the heretofore peaceful Harford Road in a war with the Neuters on one side and the Sex Addicts on the other. The Sex Addicts, who go to AA-like meeting to try to deal with their addictions, are led by the charismatic Ray-Ray (Johnny Knoxville), a tow-truck driver. After Sylvia is hit on the head, which is the action which causes people to go over to the dark side, she is recruited by Ray-Ray to be their twelfth disciple -- religious connotations abound. "One day, we're going to discover a sex act that's never been performed before, and we hope you're going to be with us on that day of carnal rapture," Ray-Ray explains to her soon after she joins his band.
Leading the decency forces is Big Ethel (Suzanne Shepherd), Sylvia's mother. "Only you can prevent fornication," is Sylvia's slogan for the Neuters. Initially, Big Ethel doesn't believe that her daughter could be involved with the Sex Addicts, bragging to a friend, "My daughter is a good girl. She hates sex."
Among the other delights of the picture are a few dream sequences consisting of vintage footage from the 1950s and earlier of nudist camps and other such early and very, very soft porn. It is quite tame now but was certainly scandalous in its time.
As the story moves toward the "resursection," the laughs keep rolling along. It is a movie that knows to quit when it's ahead, without letting its outlandish brand of comedy overstay its welcome. I haven't laughed so hard or enjoyed myself so much at a comedy like this since the first time I saw JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK.
A DIRTY SHAME runs a fast 1:29. It is rated NC-17 for graphic language and would be acceptable for older teenagers.